Definitions

Pollera

Pollera

[puh-yair-uh; Sp. paw-ye-rah]
A Pollera is a big Spanish skirt worn by women almost a century ago. They are made of wool or cotton and are very colorful. The large gathered skirt is generally white with two or three ruffles which have a floral design or embroidery. The top has several ruffles as well on the shoulders and has inlaid yarn. There is a large pompom matching the yarn in the front and back of the top. The yarn also matches several large ribbons at the waist and the slippers that go with the outfit.

In Panama and Colombia, hand made polleras evolved during time to a very elaborate piece of clothing. Currently it is the National Costume of Panama. Girls and women would generally own two polleras during their life: one before age 16 and one at adulthood. A single pollera can cost from several hundred to several thousands of dollars and take up to a year to create. The mosquetas and tembleques, gold and pearl jewelry, that accompany a pollera are generally passed down as heirlooms through generations.

In Bolivia the word pollera denotes a pleated skirt very much assoziated with the urban mestizo and the rural indigenous classes where women usually wear this garment (nowadays also instead of the woven indigenous dresses). The urban pollera typical of the Bolivian altiplano should be made of 8 meters of cloth and it is worn with 4-5 embroidered underskirts, which gives the Cholitas (mestizo women who wear the pollera) some "round" lookings... There are still quite a lot of women around who wear this skirt which originates from the Spanish rural dresses and for the Carnaval de Oruro and other festivities even women who don't usually wear it put it on for the dancing.

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